It was a wild one in Atlanta on Friday night.
The Atlanta Hawks trailed by as many as 17 points in the second half against the visiting Dallas Mavericks, before staging a furious rally in the 4th quarter to get back into the game. Then, an unlikely duo knocked down two different shots from long-range, and that was enough to propel Atlanta to an unlikely, 88-87 win.
Paul Millsap, who had attempted only 18 threes in 15 games entering Friday night, found himself wide open at the top of the key with just over 1 minute remaining, and he was able to knock down a gigantic three to cut the Mavericks’ lead to just 1. From there, Atlanta’s defense took control, grabbing back-to-back stops, and setting things up for the team’s best player, Al Horford, to play the “hero” card.
Horford caught a pass from the team’s “other” All-Star, Jeff Teague, and delivered a decisive 19-footer from near the top of the circle, giving Atlanta their first lead since the 1st half at 88-87, which ended up being the final margin. It was a huge game from Horford, who put up 17 points and 12 rebounds for yet another double-double, but nothing was bigger than his final offering, and it capped a wild comeback for the now 9-8 Hawks.
Teague was probably the best player on this night for Atlanta, scoring 25 points and dishing out 6 assists, and he has been an All-Star caliber player this season. The two-man duo of Horford and Teague isn’t talked about with the great pairings in the NBA, but they now have the Hawks sitting with the East’s 3rd-best record at 9-8, and that could result in both players showing up in New Orleans for the All-Star festivities.
For Dallas, this is a crushing blow, simply because they held the lead all night long. However, the Mavs are still in great position at 10-7 on the young season, and this one can be written off as a late collapse on the road.
The Mavericks were the better team for about 46 minutes in this one, but in the end, the Hawks purely escaped with a home win.